From the Floor Up

Don’t Make these Renovation Mistakes

Posted by Daltile Team on May 20, 2015 6:00:00 AM

National Home Remodeling Month Series, Part 5


Remodeling is a big job. You never know exactly what you’re going to get. Once the walls come down, all sorts of secrets come to light.

From unexpected repairs to simple oversights, remodeling is a road filled with pot holes, cracks, and delays. Here are a few whoppers that you definitely want to avoid.


Don’t rush.

Maybe you’re anxious to get that beautiful new kitchen, but hurrying usually means you forget something. Serious evaluation and preparation can help you avoid the unexpected and get the most out of your renovation.

Tips for Success

  • Have your contractor, architect, designer, and anyone else involved visit your home so they can take in the space and get a sense of who you are and what you want.

  • Don’t be afraid of asking for revisions. Yeah, you have a schedule to keep, but it’s better to spend the extra time now to clarify what you expect than having to fix it later when the stakes are much higher.

  • Take time to select the right people for the job. Interview contractors and designers and don’t stop until you find the right fit.


Don’t be unrealistic on the budget.

Being frugal has its benefits, but being overly frugal will just create problems. Plan for bumps in the budget and give yourself a little cushion for the unexpected.

Picking the least expensive materials for your remodel may save you some money now, but it doesn’t usually pay in the long run. Consider the return on your investments: ceramic tile is a little more of an investment than vinyl, but there’s no comparison when it comes to the return. Ceramic tile adds more value to your home.

Tips for Success

  • Give yourself a 20% margin in the budget. A cushion makes you feel more comfortable when you find the wiring has to be replaced or the bearing wall has rot.

  • Don’t plan to DIY things you have no experience with. Hire an expert and skip the extra expense of doing it over.

  • Give yourself plenty of time to shop around for materials that will give you a better return on your investment. You might just find something spectacular at a flea market or recycling center that wouldn’t be in your price range otherwise.


Don’t go too far out there on the exterior design.

No matter how much you love the look of that ultra-modern exterior, don’t forget to take into account the style of the neighborhood. Even if your vision is spectacular, if it doesn’t fit the neighborhood, it could bring down the value of your home.

The size of your home should be proportionate to the other homes in the neighborhood. Too large a home can crowd your neighbors.

Tips for Success

  • Try to blend in with your surroundings. Mirror the classic style of the neighborhood. Don’t try to make a contemporary statement on a street full of bungalows.

  • Don’t overbuild on your lot. Keep the size of your house proportionate to the size of your lot and the sizes of other houses in the neighborhood.

Don’t change your mind too frequently.

Not only does it stretch your timeline out, it costs a lot when you change your mind. There’s a lot to be said for preparation. If you’ve already thought through it, you won’t have cause to change your mind later.

Tips for Success

  • Make sure you do a final walk-through with your builder and designer before you begin construction to make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • Don’t let anyone dissuade you from your plans. Stick to what you want and you won’t have last minute changes and the regrets that inevitably come later.

  • Spend at least as much time preparing for your remodel as you expect to be in construction. The old saying measure twice cut once will help you be sure you are making the right choices.


Don’t skimp on lighting.

Far too many remodelers don’t think about lighting. The focus rests on the cabinets, the paint colors, and the floor, but lighting is key to the success of all of these elements. Lighting alone can make you feel like you’ve got a whole new house.

Tips for Success

  • Let lighting be a guiding principle as you begin your designs. It is what will make your tile floors, paint choices, and cabinets the center of attention.


  • Keep in mind the three main types of lighting: general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. No space is complete without at least two in any space.

Don’t be afraid of going green.

Most people who opt to skip green elements in their homes (solar panels and the like) do it because they think it’s too expensive or they don’t know how to go about it. Don’t miss out on these opportunities for those excuses—it’s definitely worth the investment.

Tips for Success

  • Increase the value of your home exponentially with green elements in your design. Green is quickly gaining a foothold in the mainstream and will be increase your home’s value.

  • Invest now in green elements, especially solar. Prices are coming down as more people include sustainable green energy in their plans.

 Don’t neglect the permits.

Yes, they are a pain and everyone wonders if they are really necessary. The answer is yes; they really are necessary. You could get in trouble with the city or even worse, be left holding the bill for any accidents that happen because your insurance won’t cover it.

Tips for Success
  • Get permits for all major renovations including window replacements and any permanent wiring. You probably don’t need a permit for plumbing repairs or putting in a fence. Check with your city to find out when you do and don’t need a permit.

  • Leave plenty of time to get permits before construction begins. Some permits take only a few hours to obtain and others can take months. Do not begin your project without the proper permits.


Don’t underestimate how disturbing renovation can be to your life.

Remodeling is stressful. Trying to meet budgets, keep on schedule, and pick out all the right materials can become overwhelming. Not to mention trying to live in a less than complete home during the process.

Tips for Success

  • Enclose areas of renovation with plastic tarps to keep dust down. Out of sight is out of mind.


  • Don’t forget that you’ll still want a hot shower and meal during renovation. You won’t be able to shower at the gym or eat out for months on end. Get a hotel room or visit friends to fill the gap.


  • Find out when smelly projects will be going on so you can escape the odors of glue, paint, and other irritating products.

Topics: Remodel, Redesign

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